These days it seems that wedding and DIY (Do-It-Yourself) have become synonymous. Type in “Wedding DIY” on Google and you will be met with endless ideas, projects, suggestions, and blogs (#BecomingRebeccaWallace) that guide you through the easy steps of creating your dream wedding.
As my Pinterest board quickly went from 20 pins to 400, my (I mean, our) vision began to take shape. I wanted a classic, elegant, antique, eclectic, mix and match wedding; something that was full of love and gratitude, grace and simple beauty. A day where everyone felt welcome, important, and joyful – was that too much to ask? I didn’t think so. I felt that DIY would give us the opportunity to really showcase our personal style and give guests the feeling that they were in our home, rather than in a ballroom. So began our DIY mission.
While I proudly remained within budget on our projects, DIY does have the serious danger of becoming a money pit. It is also very important to learn when to put down the glue gun and walk away because crying over buying the wrong stencils is just not a good look. Zach and I worked on a number of projects together and my friends, bridesmaids, MOH, and mum helped too. It was fun to watch the wedding take shape before my eyes and drinking wine (or champagne, if it was before noon) helped the process move along smoothly.
Using my trusty notebook, I began to write down the various DIY projects that interested me. The list was long – like, really long. To be honest, as I look back on the experience I am not quite sure how we managed to get it all done. Here are some of the items we wanted to DIY:
- Table Numbers
- Cake Topper
- Place Cards
- Card Box
- Candy Bags
Don’t worry, I’m not going to overwhelm you with how-to guidelines on 8 projects. How about four for now?
Table Numbers. I spent a lot of time on table numbers and my mother was confused by this – “doesn’t the venue provide those?”, she asked. They did and I’m sure they would have been fine, but Martha Stewart showed me so many other options! I spent a lot of time pinning different ideas – house numbers, books, photos of the bride and groom, printed numbers in picture frames, the possibilities were endless. Then I found the winner – wooden numbers spray painted with a thick layer of glorious gold glitter! I could hear Goldmember in my head: “I love gollllllllddddd.”
The pin said that the numbers and stands were purchased at Michael’s and I knew enough about the craft store to wait for sale coupons. So I subscribed to their email list and when those 50% off deals rolled in, we rolled out…to five different locations.
The spray paint that was recommended through the pin was not sold in Canada and apparently you can’t ship spray paint – shipping combustible materials is not favourable to Canada Post. We managed to find an amazing gold glitter spray on a clearance shelf at Wal-Mart (later discovered it is regularly in stock at Home Depot) and the finish delivered a dense coat of glitter. We sprayed the stands in a solid gold paint and also sprayed the numbers with a base coat. Then, using my trusty glue gun, my girls glued the numbers onto the stands. If you make a mistake (see the 7 above), the glue comes off pretty easily when you pull hard enough; not to worry though once the glue sets the numbers are pretty sturdy. Okay, so maybe my mum was right on this one – it was a lot of work. I thought they looked pretty nice though.
Cake Toppers. The cake topper game has been stepped up over the last couple of years. There are so many new and interesting ways to adorn your cake. Surprisingly, I was not thrilled with the interracial bride and groom options – people, you need to offer more than three skin tones! When I found Craft Cuts, an American, online retailer that sells wood cake toppers, I figured a big old, gold “W” in a beautiful script would be perfect! As I perused the site I noticed lots of wedding-related projects and one in particular caught my eye – a beautiful Mr & Mrs sign. Both items were available in the same font for a reasonable price so I went for it. The way that it worked out was simply perfect, don’t you think?
Invitations. We considered ordering stock invitations and Wedding Paper Divas almost had me, but we decided that we wanted something a little more unique. A generous friend designed the invitation and a friend of that friend used a refurbished letterpress to print them – the end result was just lovely.
I really wanted the invitation to come out of the envelope in one piece. I’ve received enough wedding invitations to know that I always lose one or more pieces of the puzzle. I returned to my Pinterest board for possible solutions – glue dots, fancy tape, stickers…BRADS! Of course, brads! Remember using those in elementary school to put the arms on your paper clock when you were learning to tell time? Back to Michael’s I went, coupons in hand, and selected the smallest gold, silver, and copper brads I could find. Using the tip of a knife I punctured a small hole in the middle of both cards and pushed the brad through. Perfect! A lace band would serve as a simple accent and, in keeping with the mix and match, there were 2 different types. With the help of some bridesmaids, we assembled the invitations and I think they looked pretty unique.
Banners. I have friends that are scrappers -not the fighting kind, the crafty kind- and two of those friends own Cricuts. I had no knowledge of the wonders of these machines but am now convinced that they’re made of magic. A computerized x-acto knife responds to cartridges (like an old school Gameboy) and works like a printer to cut lovely letters, numbers, and symbols onto the paper of your choosing.
In my wedding mag research I saw a lot of banners being used in fun and creative ways. Pre-fabricated banners were selling for $25-$40 and when I shared this information with my girlfriends, they told me not order anything because the cricuts would get the job done. Boy were they right!
We made three banners in total, each one more lovely than the next. The first was a “Thank You” to be used in a photo of us that would later appear on our thank you cards (and did double duty on the guest favour table). The second paid homage to our Caribbean roots and was hung on our candy table; “Sweet Tings” was a not a spelling error. The third read “Here Comes The Bride” and was carried down the aisle by my sweet little cousins (fabric lace backing made by my mom and put on a gold curtain rod).
There you have it – four projects completed, just like that. Okay, okay, writing about the projects is way easier than actually doing them but I promise they are worth it. If you feel like you’re not crafty or creative enough, you’re wrong! Start with one or two projects and see how they go. If they’re successful, try another one; if they’re not, try something else! Hearing the loving compliments from your guests will definitely make the paint fumes, glue gun mishaps, and trips to Michael’s worthwhile. And remember the most important lesson of the day: never pay full price for anything at Michael’s.